While many of us know how to bundle up and limit our time outdoors, family pets need to rely on their owners to keep them safe as temperatures are expected to plunge into the teens tonight.
Chilly temps and frosty windows mean pulling out the heavy coats and making accommodations to keep our pets safe and comfortable.
Animal care experts suggest if the weather outside is too cold for a human to withstand, pets should only be let outside for a few minutes at a time.
With that in mind, Ingham County officials say beware of salt and ice.
“Make sure they don’t have any pieces of salt stuck between their doggy toes because that could really be irritating in between their toes and could cause some chemical issues,” says Kate Turner, with the Ingham County Animal Control & Shelter.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, dogs are at risk for salt poisoning due to the rock salt used in many areas.
So it’s important to wash paws with warm water or wipe them with a damp towel when back inside.
As the night comes earlier in the winter, Turner says keeping dogs on leashes and wearing reflective clothing is crucial.
“It’s really hard for drivers to see that dark dog running across the road especially when it’s dark when you get home from work in the evening,” says Turner.
If your animal is outdoors much of the day, experts say they must be protected by a dry, draft free shelter.
“Don’t just put blankets in the bottom of a dog house because those can get wet and soak up water and then the blankets themselves can freeze. Using something more like straw is helpful because it’s going to wipe away that moisture and keep it warm and dry,” says Turner.
The Humane Society of the United States suggests covering doorways with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.
Pet owners should also do routine water checks to make sure it’s fresh and un-frozen, using plastic dishes so your pet’s tongue doesn’t stick and freeze to metal.